E. Edward Jones

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Ernest Edward Jones, Sr.

(Pastor and civil rights activist)

Edward Jones.jpg
Political party Democratic

Born May 3, 1931
DeRidder
Beauregard Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died June 9, 2016 (aged 85)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Spouse Leslie Alexander Jones
Religion National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
For the Kentucky Baptist clergyman, see James Edward Jones.

Ernest Edward Jones, Sr., known as E. Edward Jones (May 3, 1931 – June 9, 2016), was an African American pastor and civic leader from Shreveport, Louisiana,  who was active in the civil rights movement during the 1950s and the 1960s. For fifty-seven years he was the pastor of the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, from which civil rights and voting rights marches originated. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at Jones' church.

Background

Jones was born to the Reverend David Jesse Jones and the former Daisy Hatcher in DeRidder in Beauregard Parish in southwestern Louisiana. He received his high school diploma in 1948 from Beauregard Parish Training School and attended from 1948 to 1952 the historically black Grambling State University in Grambling in Lincoln Parish in north Louisiana.[1] There, he was a member of the varsity basketball team and the class president for all four years of his attendance. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in education, taught school and served as a principal in his early years. In 1961, he received a Bachelor of Arts in religion and philosophy from the historically black Bishop College, then in Marshall, Texas, which moved later that same year to Dallas.  Jones held numerous honorary doctoral degrees. He was affiliated with the Delta Sigma chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and was a member of the Masonic lodge.[2] 

Career and legacy

In 1951, Jones was ordained into the Baptist ministry. For ten years, he was a vice president of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., a fellowship of some 5,000 churches representing 2.5 million African-American Baptists. He was the thirteenth president of that body from 1986 to 2003. It is headquartered in Shreveport.[2] 

Jones and his wife, the former Leslie Alexander, were plaintiffs in the 1965 lawsuit which compelled the desegregation of public schools in Caddo Parish. One of the Joneses' daughters was among the first black pupils to attend the former all-white public schools in the parish. Jones also pushed for community and economic development. His “Galilee City", completed in 2005, is a church-based haven for the poor and dispossessed.[1][2]

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler, an African-American Democrat, said, "The city of Shreveport has lost a civil rights giant. We all stand on the broad shoulders of Rev. Jones, who was responsible for laying the foundation for integration in Caddo schools and blazed a trail of equality for all citizens. His dedication to the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church and love for his community has improved the quality of life for so many in this city."[1]

Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards submitted what he called "my heartfelt condolences and join citizens both near and far who are mourning the loss of Rev. Dr. E. Edward Jones. [He] will long be remembered and admired for his commitment and tireless work to improve the state, nation, and world. Rev. Jones was a leading proponent for justice and civil rights in our state, and his legacy will leave an impact for generations to come. His service to his alma mater, Grambling State University, and as a member of the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors will long be remembered and revered. Rev. Jones’ work serves as an example for all of us committed to doing the most for the least among us. ..."[1]

Ebony magazine consistently selected Jones among the “100 Most Influential Blacks in America”. [2] 

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Civil rights icon Rev. E. Edward Jones dies. KTBS-TV (June 9, 2016). Retrieved on June 14, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pastor Edward E. Jones. lkwilliamsinstitute.org. Retrieved on June 14, 2016.